Most Docs Now E-Prescribe
More than half of U.S. physicians now prescribe electronically, according to the latest statistics from Surescripts
, the largest network connecting physician offices to pharmacies in this country.
As of September, 52% of office-based doctors--totaling 291,000 physicians--were sending prescriptions online to pharmacies, compared to fewer than 10% just three years ago.
Overall, there are now 357,000 e-prescribers on the Surescripts network, including doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Ninety-four retail pharmacies nationwide are using the network to receive electronic prescriptions.
But despite e-prescribing's growing popularity, there are bumps in the road. One surprising finding of a 2011 study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was that although e-prescription renewals saved physicians time, they sometimes posed bigger routing problems than new prescriptions did. One reason is that a quarter of the participating community pharmacies surveyed didn't send electronic renewal authorization requests. Similarly, a third of physician practices weren't set up to receive e-renewal requests or received them infrequently. So for 2012, there's room for more growth and improvements in e-prescribing.
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